Prepared by Morris H. Roberts Jr. and others

Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



The geographic area covered in this report extends from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on the north, to Cape Canaveral, Florida, to the south. Included within this area are portions of the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia. All or portions of thirty coastal counties are included within the study area.

From a chemical standpoint, the area is characterized by nutrient input from rivers, especially nitrogen, resulting in low phytoplankton production. Heavy detritus loads from adjacent salt marches keep the oxygen level in estuaries below saturation. These streams have little capacity to assimilate additional oxygen demand.

Zoogeographically, the area comprises the Carolinian Province. At the northern end, long, narrow barrier islands, well separated from the mainland, are backed by irregularly flooded marshes. The enclosed sounds with muddy bottoms and high turbidity, are productive nursery grounds for commercial fish and shellfish. Along South Carolina and Georgia, the salt marshes provide the base of the food chain for the estuaries. Along the remainder of the coast, the mainland is exposed the sea. The offshore region is sandy throughout with out-croppings of coral, rock, and other substrates called live-bottom habitats which are productive of products. The biota is basically temperate with a number of subtropical species.

  • Chapter 1 - Marine Chemistry
  • Chapter 2 - Phytoplankton Communities and Productivity
  • Chapter 3 - Zooplankton Communities
  • Chapter 4 - Biology of Benthic Fauna
  • Chapter 5 - Coastal Vegetation
  • Chapter 6 - Marine Fisheries
  • Chapter 7 - Birds of the Coastal Zone
  • Chapter 9 - Marine Mammals


Atlantic Coast (U.S.), Oceanography -- Atlantic Coast (U.S.), Natural resources -- Atlantic Coast (U.S)

Publication Statement

For the Bureau of Land Management, U. S. Department of Interior



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